The older you get, the more you see.





© Pierre Maré,
2004 - 2007


Offbeat Columns 61 - 70

Offbeat 61
Imagine taking an original picture of Marilyn Monroe, making a Photostat of it, then Photostatting the copy and repeating the process twenty or thirty times. What would someone look like who used the final image to reproduce Marilyn Monroe’s image?
The pitfalls of my identity • reading, writing & beer: the things I am really good at • the attractions of old age • my scary shorts • modernism & why you need to be able to do good anatomical sketches postmodernism, scissors & glue • Picasso & plastic surgeons • Tupac Shakur in Sudan • Marilyn Monroe in error

Offbeat 62
Nowadays we get the e-mails about the dying kids who want postcards to fulfill their last, sad wishes, vicious viruses that will cause your computer to explode and free boxes of champagne or wads of freshly minted dollars, just by sending an e-mail onwards to thirty people within ten minutes of receiving it.
Passion on Lover's Lane • the rude interruption • how I know it is true • postcards for dying kids • warnings & free stuff by e-mail the elements of urban legends • the secret river • hidden truths in urban legends • why I keep the pavement clean

Offbeat 63
Even a bath can be made into a productive exercise if it involves a bit of professional reading or some mental construct that needs to be thought through. And if I pluck a few weeds in the garden or do the dishes instead of loafing perhaps I am saving time somewhere, somehow.
Cluelessness • a strange week • my early career • my first five novels • advertising & deadline fetishism the power of nervous tension • the seductive allure of goofing off • a motto from a promotional clock • Wopko Jensma, my favourite South African poet

Offbeat 64
It is not easy to lug a dictionary around, it will earn you curious stares and that sort of lexicographical questioning does not get you invited back to business meetings, dates or dinners.
Jim Morrison, man of letters • 'your humble servant' • 'kind regards' • three dollar coins • acrobatic words idiot sophisticates • instant reasoning for philosophers • lexicographical niceties • finely constructed insults • banal platitudes • the globalisation of words

Offbeat 65
Insecurity and paranoia have become the control mechanisms of our time. New York post-punk band Radio 4 accurately describes the current global emotional tenor in their song. ‘State of Alert’: “Hear the sirens. Everything has suddenly changed. Can’t feel normal. Everyone is looking so strange.”
My neighbour's paranoia • axe wielding maniacs • fun with irony • Fate, the Calvinist • a post-punk song hits a nail on the head Swedish 'performance enhancers' and fire extinguishers • insecurity & balding middle-aged men • personal demons & their legal representatives • the moral of the story: your fears will find you

Offbeat 66
People who live in the past say, “In our days, we didn’t do that sort of thing.” What makes them think that sort of thing was ‘ours’ in the first place. They seem to get a kick out of correcting people and the ersatz self-righteousness of moral approbation.
Sheep & goats • labour movements for livestock • us & them • Americans & everyone else • improbable probability people who live in the past • nostalgia expressed as a function of the morning after • the productivity of forward-looking people • the perils of ignoring a nasty mess on the kitchen floor

Offbeat 67
The person who manages to synthesize alcohol that doesn’t cause hangovers will be valued beyond measure. The person who invents a process to effectively replace the liver will probably be runner up.
Interesting facts about the number 67 • apples vs. caffeine • fish scales in lipstick • Asiatic trivia freaks • knowledge as currency new job categories for the poor • knowledge-based careers with status • intellectual evolution and economics • prepare for the future with Trivial pursuit

Offbeat 68
Some people have florid motivational tracts, with kitsch covers featuring beaches and sunsets, to help them through life. I have adopted Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’.
Manliness & stupidity • the veneer of civilisation • the similarity between the rugby field & the adolescent nightclub • strategies for frightening the hell out of aggressors • the strategy of disdain the beauty of Sun Tzu • preparation beats fighting • the mathematical aspect of bravery • pathetic appreciation of bravery

Offbeat 69
Passion is a recipe for disaster and disappointment. In fact, the advice of ‘flat-earthers’ and other religious conservatives on the sense of excitement is probably right: if you experience a moment of passion, go and take a very cold shower.
Filing fetishists • passion as the basis for recruitment • Love, the false friend • time as a basis for disappointment • love of your fellow man can lead to bullets and whips the 'flat earthers' are right • goldfish fanciers • the rationalisation of nightmares before you have them • the vital importance of cups of tea and very cold showers

Offbeat 70
I have problems understanding drama in fast forward, so I don’t watch much. Anyway, I am not a huge fan, with the exception of Sophia Coppola who probably only gets away with bringing wonderful, original, though-provoking scripts to the screen due to the fact that her father’s first names are Frances Ford.
Why video is better than DVD • movies in fast forward • I watch 'The House of Wax' • slowing down for architecture • Geiger imagery Damien Hirst with giggles • wax as a substitute for plastic surgery • Paris Hilton gets killed • a bit about story telling